Thule Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Thule Culture


an Eskimo culture that existed between A.D. 900 and 1700 along both shores of the Bering Strait and the arctic coastline, as well as on the Canadian islands and, from the 11th century, in Greenland. The culture was named after Thule, a settlement in Greenland.

The tribes of the Thule culture hunted whale, seal, walrus, and land animals. Characteristic Thule findings include whaling harpoons and flat toggle-type harpoon heads made of bone; linear designs were used in decorations. In the central part of the American arctic region, the eastern Thule culture, as it is called, is distinguished by circular dwellings made of stone and whalebone, the use of harnessed dog teams, stone lamps, snow knives, and figurines representing people, animals, and waterfowl. In the Bering Strait region, what is known as the western Thule culture is characterized by dwellings made of driftwood, weapons, and sinkers.


Bandi, H. G. Urgeschichte der Eskimo. Stuttgart, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Some of this work, including The Ruin Islanders: Early Thule Culture Pioneers in the Eastern High Arctic (1989), was published by the Canadian Museum of History.
That later band of immigrants spread their Thule culture across Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland and served as the ancestors of present-day Inuits, says a team led by paleogeneticists Maanasa Raghavan and Eske Willerslev, both of the University of Copenhagen.
The oldest exhibit will almost certainly prove to be a fossilised walrus ivory effigy of a shaman, dating some time between 1000-1400 and from the Eskimo Early Thule Culture (Galerie Meyer).
Peary's expedition ship, the Roosevelt, in the early 20th century and possibly by Thule culture Inuit.
On the track of the Thule culture from Bering Strait to East Greenland; proceedings.
From Middle Ages to colonial times: Archaeological and ethnohistorical studies of the Thule culture in south west Greenland 1300-1800 AD.
On the development of whaling in the western Thule culture. Folk 18:41-45.
And all samples returned dates that fit comfortably within the time range of either the Thule culture in the Canadian Arctic or the prehistoric Copper Inuit, ranging from 790-300 BP (700-377 calibrated years BP; Table 1).